The United States and Japan reached a trade agreement Monday that could double U.S. exports of beef and oranges to more than $1 billion a year, U.S. Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter said.
"My judgment is that this will turn out to be a landmark agreement in U.S.-Japan economic relations," Yeutter said following marathon talks with Japanese leaders.The agreement calls on Japan to nearly double its imports of beef by 1991 and phase out involvement by Livestock Industry Promotion Corp., which currently controls most beef imports. Japan would be allowed to set tariffs of 70 percent in 1991, 60 percent in 1992 and 50 percent in 1993 to allow Japanese farmers time to adjust.
Japan agreed to expand market access for fresh oranges by 22,000 tons annually, to 192,000 tons in 1990. After that, fresh oranges from the United States would be permitted in unlimited quantities, at the current tariff rates of 40 percent in season and 20 percent off season. Quotas on orange juice will also be phased out.
The United States also demanded and got compensation on tariffs for other farm products in return for concessions on allowing Japan to slowly phase out its tariffs. Included were liberalized restrictions on imports of grapefruit, lemons, frozen peaches and pears, pistachios, maca-damias, pecans, walnuts, pet food, beef jerky, sausage and pork and beans.
As part of the agreement, the United States agreed to withdraw a complaint filed with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the world body that oversees international trade. The two sides agreed to further discuss Japan's emergency import curbs during the current round of talks under GATT.
The temporary agreement was signed by Yeutter and Takashi Sato, Japan's agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister. Yeutter said the official documents would be signed in Washington, hopefully in the next few weeks, after the United States gathers the documents it needs.
Cabinet Secretary Minister Keizo Obuchi welcomed the agreement, telling a regular news conference Monday that "it reconfirms that the United States and Japan are able to solve their problems through joint efforts."